How many tree size are available?
The tree is available just in one size. These trees are build for the typical quarter horse and Spanish horse style back. No one saddle is going to fit every horse but because of the old style tree design these saddle will fit a much variety horses than the average modern western saddle.They are build following the time proven design of the California saddle tree that is build for the type of back rather than a specific horse. This is how old western saddles were build for the last couple hundred years because cowboys could only afford to own one saddle. The true California vaquero saddle was designed using this time proven principal and we follow the same tradition. All of the famous saddle makers from late 1800 through the early 1900 did most of their business by mail-order. There was no saddle fitting and the cowboys would send a letter and money order to companies like Visalia saddle company and their saddle would show up in a box on a train. You can still find copies of these old catalogs today. We know it is not common now and people are worried that the saddle will not fit, that is why we have a saddle guarantee. As long as the saddle is in "as new" condition, we will give you the money you paid us back minus shipping and taxes.
How to choose the right seat size?
Most people ride a seat size that is too big for them and this creates several problems. When the seat is too big the rider is often times pushed back in the seat to a weaker part if the horse's back. The longer seat also often puts the center of the rider's balance too far behind the stirrups causing the feet to go out in front and compromising the rider's balance. Another problem is that we often see saddles with a bigger seat needing a longer tree. This results in a lot of horses being sore in a lower back. Often we see riders that have been using 15 and 15 1/2 seat who are very comfortable in a 14" and 14 1/2 vaquero saddle. As a reference Jeff Sanders is 5'8" tall and weights 155 pounds and both of his Vaquero saddles are 14" seat.
How do I know what rigging style to choose?
The rigging style is generally based on both the kind of withers as well as the kind of bottom line your horse has across the belly. A horse with low withers and more of a round belly is usually better with the ¾ rigging. The 5/8 might also work for that kid of horse. A Center Fire however could have a problem sliding forward on this kind of horse.
A horse with medium withers and medium size belly would probably have no problém with either ¾ or the 5/8 rigging. You might still run a risk of the center fire sliding forward on this kind of horse though
A horse with prominent withers and not much belly would be fine with a center fire or any of the other rigging postions.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using centerfire rigging?
Advantages of the center rigging is that the rigging puts even pressure front and back when the cinch is tightened. It does not require flank cinch to keep back end of the saddle from rising up. When doing things like riding downhill or roping cattle not having a flank cinch can also be a benefit when training horse because it is not there to get in a way of your leg signals.
The disadvantages are that it can be harder to keep the saddle in position on some horses. It also requires the rider to stay in much better balance than some of the other rigging styles. It can be especially difficult to rope in if the rider does not ride in a very good balance and does not have a lot of experience sliding rope and handling cattle.